After spending years in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, the second oldest incorporated municipality founded by African Americans in the US, I am now working on a Journeys Project in Eatonville, Florida, the first incorporated African American municipality in the US. Eatonville is also the town where celebrated author and anthropologist, Zora Neale Hurston often lived and worked. The people of Eatonville inspired her work, which she wrote about often.
The Journey Projects will collaborate with the Zora Neale Hurston International Museum of Fine Art to present an exhibition that celebrates the residents of Eatonville and its ancestors, including Zora Neale Hurston and Deacon Jones. The project, which began in September, includes gathering photographic images from Eatonville residents to be included in the artwork, working with local youngsters to create cyanotypes on fabric that will also be included in the artwork, and collaborating with organizations to commemorate and honor the townsfolk and Ms. Hurston.
I have gone to Eatonville twice. It is a beautiful little town, which Ms. Hurston describes as "the city of five lakes, three croquet courts, three hundred brown skins, three hundred good swimmers, plenty guavas, two schools, and no jailhouse".
Thus far, I've attended community meetings, gone to church, walked with a local walking group, lingered at an historic property on Lake Sebelia, hung out at a local tavern and so much more. I've learned a lot from stories and conversations. I return to Florida in a couple of weeks. Like the Journey Projects on Facebook to keep up with more frequent postings.